Sony's announcements at IFA 2014 includes the new Xperia Z3 flagship smartphone, the Z3 Compact, the Experia E3, the Walkman A17 Hi-Res Audio Digital Music Player, the SmartBand Talk and the Android-based Smartwatch 3.
Starting with the smartphones, Sony's new range-topping Android smartphone is the Xperia Z3. It has a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, a 20.7-megapixel camera and waterproof protection, but compared to the previous Z2 model, there's now a more rounded aluminum frame. Sony has also added a new, wide-angle 25mm lens and extra-high ISO 12,800 light sensitivity. The new device should also be faster with a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor under the hood.
The Z3 is launching sometime this fall and Sony says there will be at least one version commpatible with U.S. LTE networks.
A smaller variant of the Z3 is the Xperia Z3 Compact. The smartphone packs the same quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 chipset under the hood, 20.7-megapixel rear camera with Sony's Exmor RS sensor and the same waterproof chassis as its big brother. However, it has a smaller Triluminos screen at 4.6-inch running at 720p.
The new Sony Xperia E3 follows the same "flagship design" and 4G capability, according to Sony. However, it uses a modest 4.5-inch, 854 x 480 screen, quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU, a 2,330 mAh battery, 1GB RAM, 4GB expandable memory and a 5-megapixel camera. Sony says the E3 has social and camera features like HDR and Timeshift burst.
Sony is supporting the Android Wear platform with the Smartwatch 3, announced at IFA today. It comes with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor paired with 512MB of RAM, 1.6-inch 320x320 screen and Sony's IP68 waterproofing. Other features include 4GB of storage, 512MB of memory NFC support, GPS and a 420mAh battery that charges with a standard microUSB cable.
The Smartwatch 3 will make use of the incoming Android Wear features. The device will be available starting from this fall for 230 Euros.
Staying with the wearables, Sony has added an e-paper display to its "lifelogging" SmartBand. It features a small curved module with a curved screen that fits into a fitness band.
The SmartBand Talk can make calls thanks to an embedded microphone and loudspeaker. It is powered by an ARM Cortex-M4 32-bit processor along with 2MB of flash memory. Unfortunately, it has an 1.4-inch black and white display.
As you might expect, a Core is at work here as well with edge-mounted volume and menu buttons to round out the on-board controls. And yes, you can swap out the band as the need arises.
The IP68 waterproof and dustproof wearable connects to an Android 4.4 device via NFC and Bluetooth and its battery will last for up to three days.
The SmartBand Talk arrives this fall in four different color options for €160.
Sony also announced the Xperia Z3 tablet Compact, which is one of the thinnest (6.4mm) and lightest (0.6lbs) 8-inch tablets you'll find. Compared to the previous Z2 Tablet, the new model is more powerful running on a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, though it still has a 1080p display, 3GB of RAM, an 8.1-megapixel rear camera and a 2.2-megapixel front shooter. Sony says that the Xperia Z3 tablet Compact will last for 13 hours of non-stop video playback.
And for gamers, Sony is bringing the PS4 Remote Play and Game Control Mount to Z3 devices. So far, that service has only worked with a Vita for remote Playstation 4 gameplay.
The console will detect your Z3 device over WiFi and let you play with a Dualshock4 wireless controller using the new GCM10 Game Control Mount. Gamers will also be able to use a Z3 device as a second screen to view livestreams of games or chat over the Playstation Network.
Sony also offers an expanded range of options for enjoying Hi-Res sound on-the-go. Packing audiophile performance into a pocket-sized player, the new Walkman A17 Hi-Res Audio Digital Music Player is joined by the all-new MDR-1A Hi-Res headphones.
The new 64GB Walkman A17 supports Hi-Res audio playback, while offering expandable memory capacity and long battery life. It supports digital music files up to 192 kHz/24 bit. Compatible file formats include MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, AIFF, WAV and ALAC. Both major and independent music labels provide a variety of Hi-Res content to choose from.
The S-Master HX digital amplifier, developed for Hi-Res audio playback, reduces distortion and noise while reproducing wide frequency response. DSEE HX technology is used to upscale the quality of compressed digital files (MP3, AAC, and WMA) to surpass CD resolution, nearing High Resolution quality.
On the inside, the Walkman A17 borrows a few tricks from some of Sony's flagship audio products. First up is the high-purity lead-free solder from the ES audio line, used for thousands of component connections. The first time being adopted in a portable device, this high-purity lead-free solder allows for reproduction of finely-detailed sounds with well-balanced low, mid and high frequency ranges. In addition, the power supply line strengthened by thickened wires offers reduced impedance, reducing distortion. Finally, instead of conventional ceramic capacitors, a high-grade POSCAP 2 capacitor is used as the charge pump for the S-Master HX digital amplifier to minimize noise and distortion even further.
Besides its 64GB of internal memory, the Walkman A17 has a microSD slot supporting microSDXC memory cards with a capacity of 64GB or greater. And, the built-in lithium ion battery provides up to 50 hours of MP3 audio playback3 or up to 30 hours of Hi-Res Audio playback per charge.
Users can also enjoy Bluetooth audio streaming convenience and simplified connectivity with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. With built in SBC and aptX codec support, users will benefit from audio when streaming music wirelessly.
The Walkman A17 will be available starting November 2014 for a suggested retail price of $299.99.
Sony's new MDR-1A Hi-Res headphones utilize 40mm HD driver units which render wide bandwidth audio performance, from low to ultra-high up to 100 kHz frequency.
The aluminum coated Liquid Crystal Polymer Film diaphragms provide the necessary rigidity and internal loss for a balanced sound reproduction.
The headphones' 4-wire oxygen free audio cable structure uses separated ground cables to minimize crosstalk between the left and right channels. The silver-coated OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) cable provides each driver with a separate ground and signal connection for heightened separation, expanded sound and tight bass.
The MDR-1A Hi-Res headphones will be available starting end of September 2014 for the same suggested retail price of $299.99.
Sony is also offering a smarter way to improve smartphone photography.
The QX1 is focused on mobile photography enthusiasts and can be paired wirelessly with a smartphone or can clip straight onto it, turning the handset's screen into the viewfinder and shutter release.
In addition, the device accepts interchangeable lenses. So you can swap from wide angle to zoom or even fisheye in order to get the perfect shot but no matter which lens you reach for, the image will be processed by a 20-megapixel sensor rather than the sensor inside your smartphone. With the accompanying app, the result really is like using one of Sony's DSLR cameras, right down to being able to adjust shutter speed and aperture.
Pictures and videos can be saved directly to a smartphone handset but also they can also be saved to the camera's own SD card.
The QX1 goes on sale in November for $400 it will do so alongside another new Sony lens camera, the QX30, which doesn't offer interchangeable lenses but does have a built-in 30x optical zoom lens, stability control, a 20.4-megapixel 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor, with a maximum ISO of 12,800 and able to record 1080p video at 60fps. It too has a pop-up flash and a memory card slot. It will retail for $350.
Sony also today introduced the HT-ST5 sound bar with wireless subwoofer, a 380-watt system that features 7.1 channel surround sound plus full HDMI connectivity and Bluetooth streaming with NFC.
The Sony HT-ST5 sound bar speaker incorporates 9 independent speakers and 7 discrete amplifiers. It also supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats, for up to 7.1 channel high-definition surround sound. In addition, with S-Force Pro Front Surround technology activated, the HT-ST5 sound bar delivers a broader sound stage to create a virtual surround experience.
Easily connect and stream music wirelessly from a smartphone, tablet or other compatible device to the HT-ST5 with Bluetooth and NFC One-touch connectivity. Thanks to Bluetooth standby mode, when connecting a Bluetooth enabled mobile device to the HT-ST5 the Sound Bar will automatically turn on and begin streaming music from the device. Built-in aptX and AAC codecs are also supported for better quality Bluetooth streaming.
In addition, the HT-ST5 can also be controlled over a Bluetooth connection with the SongPal mobile app from Sony. SongPal is a free, downloadable app for Android and iOS devices. For those who prefer using a traditional remote, the HT-ST5 includes a compact remote.
With three HDMI 2.0 inputs, one HDMI 2.0 output with audio return channel (ARC), plus additional digital and analog inputs, the HT-ST5 makes connecting multiple HD devices seamless. The HDMI output provides a simple HD connection to TVs and with ARC built in, it supports audio playback directly from the TV.
The HT-ST5 sound bar will be available in late September for a suggested retail price of $999.99.
Sony will also begin offering its 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector to consumers within the New York City metropolitan area in late September.
Placed inches from an open wall, the projector's laser light source has the ability to cast a 4K Ultra High-Definition image up to 147-inches, creating a wall-sized canvas. With the 147" image, movies and sports appear on a grand scale. And, the projector uses Laser Light Source to create an image with great brightness and color accuracy. The Laser Light Source reaches peak brightness quicker than conventional projector lamps, and lasts up to ten times longer.
The 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector will retail for $50,000.